Page 3 Profile: The Yeti, mythical beast


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The Independent Online

He’s a funny looking fella.

Hey, it’s people like you, with attitudes like that, which may explain why Mr Yeti has taken all these years to show his face.

Woah, back up. They’ve discovered the yeti?

Potentially. New DNA research on hair samples believed to belong to the creature has shown a genetic match with an ancient polar bear. It’s led scientists to speculate there could be an undiscovered subspecies, perhaps interbred with a brown bear, roaming the Himalayas, that has been mistaken for the mythical beast.

So he’s half ancient polar bear, half brown bear?

Almost. Professor Bryan Sykes of Oxford University, who led the research, said: “This is an exciting and completely unexpected result that gave us all a surprise. There’s more work to be done on interpreting the results. I don’t think it means there are ancient polar bears wandering around the Himalayas.” But he added: “It could mean there is a subspecies of brown bear in the High Himalayas descended from the ancestor of the polar bear. Or it could mean there has been more recent hybridisation between the brown bear and the descendent of the ancient polar bear.”

Sounds like they’re not very sure.

It’s safe to say this enhances the mystery rather than solves it, but when Oxford geneticists are excited it’s clear they’re on to something.